California Here I Come…Again

I’m off to teach the mixed-media art retreat called Seaside Soiree, which is put on by the wonderful do-gooders of Charity Wings. Don’t get me wrong, I love do-gooders. They make the world a better place because they care about the big picture of Life. They know there is A LOT of truth to the old saying that helping others really helps ourselves. Plus, these ladies have raised over $368,636.28 for lots of nobel causes.

So, that’s why when Elena asked me to volunteer my time to teach at the 3-day art retreat and for ICE Resin to provide a sponsorship, I immediately said YES. We first met Elena last year at CHA when she came fluttering into our ICE Resin booth in her fairy wings and tiara with other volunteers of hers in tow. The girls were doing a live streaming from CHA and showing all their viewers at home the preview of all the new releases in the craft and hobby industry.

Susan loved what they were doing for various charitable causes and loaded Elena up with books and resin and bezels, oh my. I was able to meet up with Elena again at Summer CHA, and for a few quick minutes last month when I taught in San Diego at CKU.

There are still a few spots left for the Seaside Soiree. So give them a call if you are in the San Diego area and want to come play at all things mixed media this coming weekend. I’m looking forward to spending time with my fabulous fellow instructors and also hanging out with people who love to spend their free time making art AND doing nice things for others. What more can a girl want?

I will be teaching two projects for the event, both of them quite fabulous, if I do say so myself. One is a ocean-themed bracelet using real sand and seashells and ICE Resin, of course. The other is a resin paper journal necklace that’s so awesome it sounds like the ocean if you put your ear to it. (not really).

I also have to tell you Jess Italia Lincoln at Vintaj really stepped up to the plate and was so generous to also help with the sponsorship. All the cute natural brass charms, journal blanks and chain was generously donated by Vintaj for the event. Seriously, these ladies ROCK. Not only do they make products that are just the bomb to work with, but their big hearts have made them darlings of the industry. We all love them!

I {heart} Saturdays

Some of you checking in with me today for my I {heart} Saturdays are going to think I’ve gone off the deep end for my “what inspires me today” images. Let me explain.

I’m working on my next book and my art deadlines and photo deadlines are approaching so quickly it feels like a freight train bearing down on me. Normally these deadlines wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but I’m juggling others for CHA that must be done at the same time. I’m hopping from one project to another throughout my work days, and there are times I can’t remember if I’m pickling my jewelry or pickling my brain.  

On top of finishing my book projects, I’m having to think about my hands — particularly my fingernails because step-out photos are up soon. I have writer/artist hands. My flanges are my favorite tool and it doesn’t matter if I’m typing on the keyboard or making art. My hands are the work horse of my body. I can’t even comprehend spending money on a manicure (pedis are another story though because a girl has to have pretty feet in sandal weather.)

This sounds like such a petty thing to be worrying about, but there are so many nuances that go into publishing, I thought a few of you might be interested to see how many details you will have to keep in your brain when your time comes to write your book. Trust me, clean hands and nice nails make for much better pictures, even when you’re doing an art book and the photos are all about technique.

The photos pictured here are interesting to me because nail art is another form of self-expression and beauty. Though my digits will never look like any pictured, the colors and designs are as uniquely personal as one’s fingerprint. The images come from an idea website for nail technicians, and the binary code one comes from an article in PC world on nerdy nail designs.

Here’s wishing you a truly Artful Saturday!

Diggin’ Instagram App

There are so many different social media options these days. My friends are using Pinterest, tweeting 3x a day through TweetDeck or another program that sprinkles tweets into the Twitter stream throughout the day, maintaining their Flickr accounts and using Instagram.

A big part of what I do with ICE Resin for marketing is keeping up with our social media. Seriously, though, how is one ever supposed to have time to make any art??? I limit my social media time to 1 hour per day Monday through Friday, unless I’m at an event teaching or vending where there is lots of fun activity all around me that I think people might be interested in. If I didn’t set strict time limits, I would never get anything else done.

I have a Pinterest account and followers, but so far, I just haven’t been bitten by the Pinterest bug like many of my friends. However, I am totally diggin’ the Instagram app on my iPhone. (LOVE my iPhone, btw. It took me a while to jump on board, but now I wonder how I ever lived without it).

I think the reason I enjoy Instagram so much is that because I’ve always been into photography and all the new artsy filters just makes my heart swoon. Digital photography and the things an artist can do to present his/her unique viewpoint is exciting.

Since I know a lot of folks aren’t into Instagram yet, I thought it would be fun to occasionally share some of my pics on my blog. These were taken on a lovely little nature walk with my toddler the other night.

I {heart} Saturdays

Public art is something that inspires me, always has. Scottsdale, Arizona, where I used to work as a visual arts editor, is just one of the cities in the United States where 2% of the budget for public projects must go toward the installation on public art. This is why you see sculptures throughout downtown Scottsdale, large-scale murals on freeways and sculptural bus stops.

As I travel across the country, I always notice the public art in other cities. Even if the pieces themselves are not my artistic sensibilities, I always appreciate the fact that the city leaders are doing what they can to support the arts by infusing a visual aesthetic into the public landscape. I think it is important for our children to see murals on city walls and sculptures in their parks, to learn a visual language during the time they are figuring out how the world works.

You guessed it. My inspiration this week for I {heart} Saturdays are amazing sculptures found across America’s cities and towns.

The first one made a list for the worst public art. I totally disagree. I happen to love this mixed-media heart. Whomever decided it belongs on the “bad” list needs some basic art education in my humble opinion. I think it is interesting and the epitome of mixed media.

I found this Before I Die project on the web and thought it was so cool because it is true public art with community participation. Read more about the artist Candy Chang and her amazing public art project.

Take a look at Atlanta’s Rise up the Ladder art installation. SO inspired by the colors of the ladders and all those crazy angles that appear to defy the laws of physics.

I don’t necessarily “get” the blue bear peeking into the windows, but the scale of the piece excites me. The artist inspires me because he pushes the boundaries of space and scale in a big way.

That’s it for my inspiration of the week. Here’s wishing you a truly Artful day!

ECR in Handcrafted magazine

The annual special issue of Handcrafted Jewelry magazine is on newsstands now and, boy oh boy, it’s filled with lots of great mixed-media jewelry projects. The little collaged bird house necklaces on the cover are just too cute for words.

I had sent the editor a copy of my book Explore, Create, Resinate to review earlier in the year, so I was thrilled to see it mentioned as a must-buy along with some other wonderful new books that hit the craft market in 2011, including my friend Brenda Schweder’s fab Steel Wire Jewelry.

When you write a book, there is so much preparation work, along with the making of the art, writing the manuscript, meeting deadlines and following through with the production schedule that it seems like ages ago that I did Explore, Create, Resinate. I have to stop and remind myself that it just came out January 28th when we unveiled it at CHA.

I continue to get comments on it on a weekly basis from people who say they were always afraid to try ICE Resin but are now completely hooked on its incredible art making properties after reading my book. Yep, there are definitely other resin products on the market (and I’ve tried them all over the years, long before ever joining up with Susan), but there is nothing like ICE for quality and clarity. And, so far, there is nothing like ECR for teaching people in such clear and easy language and photos how to have guaranteed resin success.

So it was awesome to pick up a copy of Handcrafted Jewelry, which I look forward to buying every year, to see my book listed because it made me stop to take a look back to where I was this time last year. The reflection helped me to again be proud of my accomplishment of writing and self-publishing a book — with a whole lot of help from the original SLK Design Team because it was their incredible work that elevated the beauty of the book tenfold. It also helped me see where I was this time last year and how much I’m enjoying all the positive changes of the past 12 months.

I {heart} Saturdays

Today’s inspiration comes from the color tangerine. I’ve been looking at this color for the past few weeks each time I walk outside on my deck. The oak trees are turning colors, literally changing my green forest of mostly Ponderosa Pine trees into what looks like the underpainting of yellows and fiery oranges in the distance.

I love the color orange. It excites me and make me think of life in motion. How can anyone or anything be dreary when tangerine enters one’s vision field?  

Here are some random photos of I found on the web this week that makes me want to  grab a blank canvas, some orange paint and some images from my stash to create something bursting with the essence of tangerine. Hmmmm, now that I think about it, I have some tangerine beads in my stash, along with an old advertising tin with orange writing. Think I’ll whip up a necklace this weekend while I’m working on some other samples.


Here are the links to the photos, arranged in order from top of bottom. Here’s hoping your Saturday is a Tangerine Dream kinda day.


Over at Create Mixed Media

Another quick note today to let you know my monthly column at is up as of this morning. It’s not a typical marketing column for me, rather a kind of introspective post reflecting on a recent book I’ve read called The Noticer by Andy Andrews.

If you have 10 minutes or so to spare, click on over the CMM and take a read.

Back to work. I have a designing deadline for my Industrial Chic samples and the creative mojo is flowing. I don’t want to interrupt the groove with too much time on the computer. (LOL)

Somerset Studio; A Chic Read

Are you a fellow book lover? I mean the real thing, the books with pages you turn with your fingers and close with a bookmark? Do you love the smell of a new book when you crack the cover open and realize you might just be the first person to do so with that particular book?

Strangely enough, I was in a partnership for a year with friends where we opened a used bookstore. I did this when we first moved to the country and my son was little. While I was still freelancing some, I worked weekends just to get out of the house and do something on my own. Owning a bookstore was never my dream, but there was something so satisfying about caring for and selling used books so they could find another owner to read them, and hopefully, love them.

On quiet days, I swear I thought I could hear some of the books whispering to me. So I would go over the shelves and pick up a title that would catch my eye. I’d sit down in our comfy corner and spend some working time snuggled up with a good book until the next customer came in.

I also made things like bookmarks and magnets and small handmade trinkets during this time that I would sell at the little country bookstore of ours. It was always around the holidays that the bookmarks would sell the best, as people loved picking up a small gift for friends while still managing to “shop local,” which is always an important thing in small towns.

I’ve been making a version of these bookmarks on and off for more than eight years now. Because they’re so easy to make, I’ll do a bunch of them to put in my handmade gifts stash when friend’s birthdays and special occasions come up. Then I forget about them for a year or more. Something always brings me back to the bookmarks though.

When I showed my bookmarks to the editor of Somerset Studio magazine, she loved how colorful and fun they are and asked if she could feature them. You know my motto by now, never, ever tell an editor no, so of course off went my bookmarks to photography and the publishing process.

My super simple, yet beautiful bookmarks are found in this November/December 2011 issue of Somerset Studio. It’s now on newsstands everywhere. In addition to my bookmarks, there is an artist profile of my friend Mary Beth Shaw in there as well as Doodles Unleashed with my other dear friend Traci Bautista.

CKU Wrap Up and What I learned

(L to R) Michelle Hill, Christy Tomlinson, Sam Kangas, Kristen Robinson, Me and Teresa Collins

Sorry for the delay in getting you a CKU wrap up. I got home the Sunday before Halloween and then went straight into mommy mode with laundry and cooking and getting the kids ready for trick-or-treating Monday evening. Then I had Julie’s stencil blog hop, a weekend away with my hubby just the two of us because our anniversary weekend was so busy this was the first weekend on the calendar we could schedule it. You know, yada…yada…yada.

The point is that I’m here now to talk a little bit about teaching at the Creating Keepsakes 10 year Reunion event held in beautiful La Jolla, California (essentially San Diego). I arrived Thursday afternoon with much anticipation, particularly in meeting up with my dear friend and co-teacher for the event Kristen Robinson. Even though it’s only been a few months since we’ve seen each other, it really was a girlfriend reunion those first minutes of seeing each other with a rushing of words to catch the other up on life.

After a quick dinner, we got right to business with the opening ceremonies. At the top is a pic of the teachers right before the students arrived. We are in front of the gorgeous candy bar filled with many, many sweet treats and the cutest handmade scrapbooking banner.

It was wonderful to see Teresa Collins again. I met her earlier this year and we just clicked. Of course, we knew of each other because of the crafts industry, but when I talked to her for the first time, it was like we’d been friends forever. Teresa in person is just like she is on her blog. She is open and caring and genuine. A true friendship is developing and I’m thrilled.

I also got to see Jodi Sanford, the owner of the wonderful paper company Fancy Pants and meet Christy Tomlinson for the first time. Also see Michelle Hill again and say ‘hey.” She really is that bubbly all the time and so, so cute! I was jazzed about meeting Samantha Kangas with Technique Tuesday. This lady has been in the industry forever. She’s seen it all, done it all, knows where the bodies are buried (figuratively, of course) and is still just as open-hearted and kind as anyone you would have the sincere pleasure of meeting.

Opening ceremonies got everyone charged up to be together for a special event. Teachers were pulled up on stage and embarrassing 10 years ago photos were revealed on giant screens, along with photos of our work from a decade ago. Yikes, I winced when my scrapbook page was put up there for all to see. All I can say is my work has changed A LOT over the years. Whew!

At 9 p.m. the madness began of me and Kristen helping over 250 ladies make their bezels and pour ICE Resin into them so they had overnight to dry for our classes the next day. The last bezel was finished right before the stroke of midnight. Again,”whew!” The photo below is only half of the drying bezels. We filled four tables.

Classes commenced the next day at 9 a.m. sharp. The ladies were slow at first to take the jewelry-making class because a lot of them were busy with their album tracks (I could hear Teresa’s full classes across the hallway and Stacy Julian’s dance music next door), but we had a great time enjoying a smaller first class after the busy night before.

Things picked up with the next group and didn’t slow down until we had taught everyone how to make a cute-as-a-button resin bracelet by 5 p.m. Saturday. Kristen and I learned we were just born to teach together. Our styles meshed and blended so well we have some new ideas up our sleeves for the future. 

Closing ceremonies were fab with Creating Keepsakes Founder Lisa Bearnson giving an inspiring talk. One of her tips is something I plan to implement and blog about at a later date.

I’m grateful to be asked to teach CKU beside Kristen and to bring the wonderous techniques of ICE Resin to a new group of passionate crafters, many of whom truly fell in love with the product and its versatility as an art medium. The event, although busy, provided moments of deep reflection for me. I realized a few things about where I’ve come from, where I am now and how the path was supposed to unfold as it did for me to be exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Part of my story is that I re-discovered my artistic journey in the form of scrapbooking more than 10 years ago. I was soooo into it. I loved the pretty papers and embellishments and telling the stories of my life as a wife and mother. But I quickly learned that I was a rule-breaker of sorts. That it was difficult for me to look at something and not want to put my own unique stamp on it with paint and inks and rubber stamps. I had a need, I mean deep-seated need, within me to rip and distress paper.

Fortunately, I wasn’t alone and an entire generation of scrapbookers went mixed-media with me. Some of us a little more than others. And some of us, like myself, went a little over the top with it. But the real reflection of CKU for me was this: Scrapbooking is probably the most intimate and personal craft there is. It’s tied to family and love and documenting lives of those who make this earth journey worthwhile.

These ladies as a collective group reminded me of why I started the journey more than decade ago. I began to tell my story. To make a small mark on the world with photos and words to let others know I was here and to let my lineage know my hopes and dreams so I don’t become dusty photos in a box that future generations toss out in tag sales because the faces are strangers to them.

This is why I scrapbooked. It’s still one of the most powerful reasons why I make art today. Thank you CKU for reminding me of this.

I {heart} Saturdays

With this Saturday being the first weekend in November, I thought I’d make today’s I {heart} Saturdays about gratitude. There are so many things in my life that I’m thankful for. As we head into the holiday season with Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s as good of a day as any to be inspired by the generosity of the creative community at large.
Just a quick reminder about the word:
grate-ful \ˈgrāt-fəl\
appreciative of benefits received b : expressing gratitude <grateful thanks
affording pleasure or contentment :pleasing b : pleasing by reason of comfort supplied or discomfort alleviated
grate·ful·ly \-fə-lē\ adverb
grate·ful·ness noun
First Known Use: 1552
Synonyms: appreciative, glad, obliged, thankful
Here are some images that inspire me today.


I really enjoy taking time each week to surf the web and find images that speak to me and share them on my I {heart} Saturdays posts.  I will always cite the sources where I find these images. If any of them are under copyright and not available for re-publication on the web, please email me and I will remove them asap.
Today’s links:
Here’s wishing you a truly Artful day!